Tuesday, January 22, 2008

River Block Rock

There is a beautiful new problem in the riverbed near Pleasant Valley Campground.

I climbed it on Sunday, January 20th, in extremely windy conditions. The problem climbs the steep northeast side of the big boulder in the riverbed on beautiful rippled edges. The water is usually too high to access the problem, but the diversion of the water made the problem climbable, though right next to the water.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., I dubbed the problem Integration. It is probably somewhere between v7-v9. It's brilliant, and well worth checking out!

[Here'a a pic from Jeff Sillcox and the Eastside Bouldering Blog -- Wills]

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lisa Rands climbs The Mandala (v12)

Yesterday (Friday) afternoon, Lisa climbed The Mandala (v12), becoming the first female to climb this line first done by Chris Sharma in 2000. The problem has gained almost mythical status as one of the most popular and most famous lines in the world, and for good reason: it is an extraordinary climb. Lisa was psyched to achieve this goal that she's been aiming for since last season when she first started trying it. A torn bicep, weird weather conditions, a mystery illness, and a flim project revolving around her ascent of the super-highball This Side of Paradise (v10) kept her from success then, but this season, on just her third day of tries, she climbed the line at the third attempt, saying that moments before doing it, she felt strangely certain of success. She nailed the critical, and for her extremely long, first move to perfection, and powered through the rest of the sequence with precision, only hesitating for a second before turning the lip onto the icy summit.

I shot video of the ascent and this will hopefully be available on The North Face website in the near future. See my mention of this in a separate report. Here's a shot of Lisa on The Mandala from last season (clearly not the cold, crisp conditions we enjoyed yesterday):

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mandala Sit (v14) & More by Sean McColl

Sean braved the snow and the heinous road conditions, and headed to the Buttermilks today where he made a very impressive ascent of the The Mandala Sit Start, managing to top it out with some trepidation on the wet and icy summit! He and Matt Birch had shoveled most of the snow from the top, but it wasn't exactly dry when Sean gained the lip, looked down and decided to go for it, stepping up on the only dry bit of rock he could find!

Sean also added what he named The Oracle (v13), the full Baburre start to the v12, The Mystery, making a long and very hard link-up this afternoon, and was very close to adding that same start into Direction (Thunderbird Sit) -- all this being a warm-up to the main event of course. (On the Direction link, he fell after he stuck the dyno crux of Thunderbird). Oh, the things some people will do while bored waiting for the snow to melt at the Buttermilks! [NOTE: Sean returned Thursday and climbed this latter link-up True North (hard v13?)]

Also of note, but not mentioned on this blog was Shawn Diamond's ascent of The Mandala Sit Start last week.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Flight of the Bumblebee Video on YouTube

Here's a link to footage of Kevin Daniels making the second ascent of Flight of the Bumblebee: a nice little video by Matt Pare':

Monday, January 7, 2008

Goldfish Trombone (v14) by Sean McColl

Astonishingly, Sean McColl was not put off by the rain last week, and was out Jan 6th to make an ascent of Goldfish Trombone (v14). Perhaps living in Vancouver, BC, Canada, has inured him to the wet conditions. Sean, 20 years old, is one of those amazing climbers who has been climbing at the cutting edge since the age of 12. He has also climbed Direction (v13) and Xavier's Roof (v12), among other lines, during his brief visit so far.

Goldfish Trombone's crux sits under a big roof, allowing the holds to remain dry during the heavy rain storm. However, water seeping down through the rock made the holds damp today (a day after the ascent).